On October 21, 2004, a group of former Chicago Police Department (CPD) detainees filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the CPD. Represented by the Chicago civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy, the plaintiffs alleged that the CPD were engaged in a unconstitutional pattern and practice of detaining persons under its control for excessive periods of time and under poor conditions. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the Department routinely and secretly detained suspects in police station interrogation rooms for lengthy periods of time, up to 48 hours without sleep or food, in attempts to develop legal grounds for detaining them. These unlawful detentions, plaintiffs alleged, amounted to physical and psychological "soft torture" and produced scores of false confessions. Plaintiffs sought monetary damages and class certification.
On June 13, 2005, the plaintiffs moved for certification of three separate classes: (1) those subjected to interrogation room detentions for over 16 hours; (2) those held in the department lock-up and deprived of adequate accommodations for sleep; and (3) those detained by police for over 48 hours without a probable cause hearing. Defendants objected to certification of Class I and III, but consented to certification of Class II.
On October 5, 2005, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman granted plaintiffs' motion with respect to the Class II and III. Class II was defined as: "All persons held in a CPD lock-up or detective division facility between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at any time from October 12, 2002, to the date of this order." Class III was defined as: "All persons arrested on suspicion of a felony without an arrest warrant and who were detained by the CPD in excess of 48 hours without a judicial probable cause hearing at any time from August 15, 1999, to the date of this order." Judge Gettleman denied certification as to first class because the claims of the only proposed representative of the first class was barred by the statute of limitations. 231 F.R.D. 367 (N.D.Ill. Oct 05, 2005). The plaintiffs later added a new representative for Class I and renewed their motion to certify this class. Judge Gettleman granted the motion on June 2, 2006.
While the certification issues were being resolved by the court, the parties engaged in substantial discovery. Many disputes arose, causing the parties to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier over 20 times. The CPD was ordered to produce, among other materials, computerized arrest data and a sampling of 3,000 paper arrest records. The plaintiffs used the arrest data to create a database which would be used to identify the members of the various classes.
Judge Schenkier held a series of settlement conferences beginning on September 21, 2006 and continuing over the next year. On October 6, 2010, the Court gave final approval of the negotiated class action settlement. The defendants were required to fund a settlement fund of up to $16.5 million to pay settlement class members. The agreement specified the following awards for each class:
• Members of Class I (detained for longer than 16 hours) were eligible for an award of up to $2,000;
• Members of Class II (detained overnight without adequate accommodations for sleep) were eligible for an award of up to $90; and
• Members of Class III (detained for longer than 48 hours without a probable cause hearing) were eligible for an award of up to $3,000.
The defendants were also required to pay for all costs related to the claims administration for the settlement. The agreement also allowed for an attorneys' fee award not to exceed $5 million, and attorneys' costs and expenses not to exceed $70,000.
On April 19, 2013, Judge Schenkier issued an order stating that the entirety of damages had been paid and any remainder of the settlement fund would be returned to the City of Chicago.Dan Dalton - 02/11/2008
Andrew Steiger - 01/28/2014
John He - 02/29/2016